Modi leaves on five-day visit to Seychelles, Mauritus and Sri Lanka

Prime Minister Narendra Modi departs on a tour of Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka, in New Delhi on March 10, 2015.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi departs on a tour of Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka, in New Delhi on March 10, 2015.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi headed today on a five-day tour that would take him to Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka, saying that his visit to the three Indian Ocean island countries reflected India's foreign policy priorities in its immediate and extended neighbourhood.
"I am keenly looking forward to my three-nation tour of Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka on March 10-14. We have a strong, multifaceted and important relationship with each, and they all occupy a very important place in our foreign policy," he said in a pre-departure statement.
"India attaches paramount importance to strengthening relations with this region, which is vital for India’s security and progress," he said.
Mr Modi's first destination will be Seychelles. "India’s relationship with Seychelles has been built on the foundation of mutual trust and shared values. My visit to Seychelles will be the first Prime Ministerial visit to Seychelles since 1981. I am keenly looking forward to my meeting with President James Michel, a great friend of India," he said.
On March 11-12, Mr Modi will be in Mauritius, where he has been invited to be the Chief Guest at the country's Independence Day celebrations on March 12.  "My visit to Mauritius will aim to strengthen our age-old civilizational ties with 'Chhota Bharat'," he said.
"I am honoured to be invited to address the National Assembly of Mauritius. I will be participating in the joint commissioning of Indian-built Offshore Patrol Vessel Barracuda, and in the beginning of construction works for the building of World Hindi Secretariat," he said.
Mr Modi said he looked forward to discussing with Prime Minister Sir Anerood Jugnauth ways in which the two countries could further deepen their strategic partnership. "I also look forward to meeting the entire political leadership of Mauritius, which has provided unstinting support for this relationship," he said.
Mr Modi's visit to Sri Lanka will be the first standalone Prime Ministerial visit to Sri Lanka since 1987. This will be the second summit between the two countries in a month’s time since the visit of President Maithripala Sirisena to India last month. 
"I see this visit as an opportunity to further strengthen our relationship in all its dimensions – political, strategic, economic, cultural, and above all, people to people contacts. This visit is also part of my objective of maintaining frequent contact with our neighbouring countries. I am delighted with the opportunity to visit one of our most important neighbours," he said.
He said he looked forward to discussing bilateral relations with President Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
"I am also looking forward to meeting other political leaders of Sri Lanka. We will work together to forge a new partnership between our countries. 
"I am deeply honoured to be invited to address the Parliament of Sri Lanka. My programme also includes some of the most important symbols of our timeless relationship. I will be visiting the Mahabodhi Society in Colombo, and travel to Anuradhapura, Talaimannar and Jaffna, and interact with the cross-section of society. In Jaffna, I will be laying the foundation stone for the iconic Jaffna Cultural Centre that will come up adjacent to the historic Jaffna Public Library. 
"I am confident that my visits to all three countries will reinvigorate our relations with them in this all-important region we call home – the Indian Ocean," he added.

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